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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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102 Squadron Crest
24/25.07.1943 No.102 Squadron Halifax II JD316 DY-X Fl/Sgt. Bakewell

Operation: Hamburg

Date: 24/25th July 1943 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 102 Squadron (motto: Tentate et Perficite - 'Attempt and achieve')

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JD316

Code: DY-X

Base: RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire

Location: Lengenbostel, Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Tom Bakewell 119887 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Lewis Cowin NZ/41218 RNZAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. John Swinton 967340 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Nav: P/O. F.G. Smith 134215 RAFVR PoW No: 1945 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

Air/Bmr: P/O. David Hill 130564 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. John Henry Page 1280548 RAF Age 34. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Frederick John Edwards 509879 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Albert Leonard Wood R/105398 RCAF Age 25. Killed


Taking off from RAF Pocklington at 22:19 hrs. to join 790 aircraft to bomb the city of Hamburg. Window (1) was used for the first time during the war. The dropping of this new device totally confused the German Night fighters resulting in a very low loss rate for the bombers.

A total of 2,284 tons of bombs were dropped during the 50 minute raid. Severe damage caused with 1,500 people killed on the ground - the highest number so far. The main police station, the main telephone exchange was hit as well as the Hagenbeck zoo where 140 animals were sadly killed.

Halifax JD316 was coned by No. 1 Flakscheine (although other flak units also claimed it) and then intercepted by 24 year old, Uffz. Walter Rohlfing (2) of 9./NJG3 flying Bf 110 G-4 Wnr. 6353 from Stade airfiel with the Halifax coming down 01:20 hrs at Lengenbostel.

(1) Window - Tinfoil strips dropped by bombers to disrupt enemy radar system - on this raid it is known that 92 million strips of foil were dropped!

(2) This was the first claim for Ofw. Walter Rohlfing who survived the war as an 'ace' with 7 victories. Passed away on the 27th October 1999 age 72. (Information courtesy Kracker Archives on this website)

Above: Image courtesy of Auckland Library Heritage Collection: AWNS19430929-20-24 via Jenifer Lemaire

Burial details:

Crew initially buried at Stade, 23 km north of the crash area - reinterred after the end of the war.

Fl/Sgt. Tom Bakewell. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 12.F.8. Son of Oswald Newton Bakewell and Aldyth Bakewell, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England.

Fl/Sgt. Thomas Lewis Cowin. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 11.E.13. Son of Harry Cowin and of Emma Cowin (nee Parkinson), of Nelson, New Zealand. A total of 393 flying hours logged and having completed, it is thought, 2 operational sorties.

Sgt. John Swinton. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 13.E.14. No further details - are you able to assist?

P/O. David Hill. Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 11.E.14. Son of Peter and Ethel Lilian Hill, of Burton-on-Trent, England. Grave inscription reads: "Tell England, All Ye Who Pass This Monument, We Died For Her And Here We Rest Content".

Fl/Sgt. John Henry Page Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 11.E.15. Son of John W. Page and of Alice C. Page of South Norwood, Surrey, England. Grave inscription reads: "A Voice We Loved Is Still A Place Is Vacant In Our Home Which None Can Ever Fill".

Sgt. Frederick John Edwards Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 13.E.2. Son of Percy Leonard and Winnifred Elizabeth Wood, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Grave inscription reads: "Father, In Thy Gracious Keeping Leave We Now Our Loved One Sleeping".

Sgt. Albert Leonard Wood Becklingen War Cemetery. Grave 12.F.7. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire of New Zealand for her assistance with this report. Also to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 04.03.2019

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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